***** Financial Investigation and Forensic Accounting, Second Edition. By George A. Manning; published by CRC Press, 800/272-7737 (phone), www.crcpress.com (Web); 580 pages; $99.95.
When the first edition of George Manning’s Financial Investigation and Forensic Accounting appeared in 1999, it pursued a single objective: bridging the gap between the financial and law enforcement communities. This second edition still accomplishes that goal, but it also updates information sources, collection methods, and tax schedules needed by law enforcement and expert witnesses when dealing with accounting and finance matters. More material is included on new laws and computer fraud, as well as on how to locate terrorist funds.
The wide range of white-collar crimes and methodologies covered here includes gambling, prostitution, money laundering, and tax havens. Some of the coverage is too brief to be of use to law enforcement experts, but the author’s intent was likely to touch on topics that affect the theory and practice of financial investigation and forensic accounting, not to comprehensively explore them.
For the most part, the material serves its purpose, but in discussing organized crime, Manning relies on grossly outdated and shortsighted statistics and other material. For example, most of the data on organized crime comes from the 1980s; only three verified facts about organized crime have more recent citations, and they all relate to a single criminal. Other information on criminal organizations and their hierarchies lacks current data.
The good material outweighs the less helpful sections, however. By far the most beneficial aspects of the book are the line-by-line explanations of such arcane tax schedules as the RICO (Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations) net worth schedule and the tax net worth schedule—both of which are methods of presenting evidence of an organization’s unreported taxable income.
Several chapters are dedicated to a case study detailing how a criminal’s financial activities are tracked, compiled, and used as evidence. This approach shows concretely how accounting principles can crack white-collar crimes.
Reviewer: Dan Bergevin is the principal of Catfield International, an intelligence and security firm based in the Salt Lake City, Utah, area.